This female Pochard put a big smile on my face this morning. Although not in quite the same league as Coot, this is a rare bird in Exmouth, and a species that's becoming increasingly scarce elsewhere. My last record in Exmouth was of two drakes, also off Mudbank, on 31/10/17.
Counts from Mudbank, as the tide dropped, included 1 Pochard, 6 Shoveler, 21+ Great Crested Grebes, 15 Red-breasted Mergansers, the juvenile Spoonbill, 12 Teal, 1 Greenshank, 1 Ringed Plover, 165+ Pintail, 1 Goldeneye (female-type) and 78 Mallard.
I popped in on Mum this afternoon, and combined the trip upriver to have a look at Countess Wear/Exe Reedbed, where Marsh Harrier, 5+ Gadwall, 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs, 4+ 'colybitta' Chiffchaffs, 2 Little Grebes, 4+ Cetti's Warblers and a Common Sandpiper were the highlights.
Shovelers are always a treat for me here in Exmouth. Here are this morning's 3 drakes and 3 females.
Marsh Harrier - Exe Reedbeds.
Looking across the river towards Topsham. Not so picturesque if you look north...
I always try and have a mooch around the Countess Wear area around this time of year. It's potentially really good for all sorts of wintering stuff, but I never see other birders there. Perhaps they're put off by the unpleasantly imposing presence of the motorway bridge, and the constant noise that comes with it.